Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 

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December 3, 2014
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA
In This Issue:
CarePartners- Sponsor Message (Left)
Letter from the President
Early Career Affinity Group
Emeritus December Luncheon
Save the Date- Annual Celebration
New Members to WCMS
First Independent Physicians Affinity Group
Updates from BCDH: Pertussis & Ebola
This Holiday Season Give the Gift of Access to Health Care
WCMS Endowment Fund Contributes $7260 To Medication Assistance Program in Clay County
Maternity Care Landscape Evolves
Abraham Verghese: A Doctor's Touch
Toward Accountable Care
Job Board & Classified Ads
President's Message - "Vision of What It Means to be a Physician"
Below are excerpts from Dr. Gus Vickery's last president's message

"I would like to share with you an issue that is deeply personal to me, and that I think is important to our society as well. For the past 10 years since finishing residency I have owned and operated an independent family practice office. Like most of you, my assumptions about how I would practice medicine, how I would direct patient care, and how I would communicate my efforts to administrators have continued to be proven false.

However, most of my assumptions about enjoying my role as a family physician have been proven true. I remain very excited about my occupation. I enjoy my work and have no regrets about my career choice. Unfortunately, if many of the articles I read are true, many physicians do not feel the same.  The statistics suggest that a majority of us would not recommend a career as a physician to our children or others in general. I wonder how this reflects on our profession.

 I don't think most of us were focused on our economic value when we received our acceptance to medical school. Most of us probably had some individualized vision of what it meant to be a physician. I would imagine most of us were excited about the potential to make a difference in peoples' lives, to improve the health of our communities and to collaborate with other professionals who possess a passion for medical science and its ability to do good. What happened to that passion, that vision?

We have allowed insurance companies, healthcare systems and others to define who we are. We have been divided and pitted against one another. We have allowed those around us to wear us down.

I believe our challenge is to make sure that we are empowered to be advocates for our patients, that we are clear about our moral compass, and that we have the freedom to direct patient care. We can't do that alone; it must be done collectively as a profession. It is time for us in a powerful and unified manner to communicate to each other and to our communities who we are and what our vision is for our profession."

Gus Vickery, MD
MAHEC CME Event  (12/4)
Chronic Care Management Coding:  How to Get Paid for Care Provided

This 2.5 hour workshop will begin with an in-depth examination into CMS Standards and Guidelines on CCM. Physician and Coding experts will provide specific details on CCM Final Rule, address billing and coding compliance, and present a business model for CCM.

Thursday, Dec. 4th 6:00pm - 8:30pm

Go to MAHEC website for more information.
Early Career Affinity Group  (12/10)
RSVP now for the Early Career group!  

When: Wednesday, December 10th 6pm - 8pm
Where: Blue Kudzu Sake Company, River Arts District in Asheville

The Early Career Affinity group is for any physician within their first 10 years of medical practice- residents and medical students are also invited!  This is a great time to enjoy good food/drinks and to connect with other physicians in your stage of career. 

Emeritus December Luncheon (12/16)
When: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Where: The Country Club of Asheville
170 Windsor Rd
Asheville, NC 28804

Speaker: Dr. Emilie Ralston with Asheville Radiology Associates

Topic: Dr. Ralston will be presenting on the topic of 3D mammography and other issues surrounding breast cancer screening. This topic is of particular interest as the new 3D equipment becomes available very soon.

Click here to register to attend.
Save the Date- Annual Celebration  (1/25)
Please mark your calendar for an evening of food, music and camaraderie with fellow physicians, and a chance to meet your new WCMS Board leaders.

Sunday, January 25th
6pm - 9pm
Highland Brewing Company in Asheville

Look for your official invitation in January!
New Members to WCMS  
First Independent Physicians Affinity Group
WCMS hosted the first meeting of the Independent Physicians Affinity Group on December 2nd at Lulu's on Main in Sylva (Jackson County). The event was well attended with eight independent physicians from Macon, Haywood, and Buncombe Counties. Carolyn Coward of the Van Winkle Law Firm and Mary Williams Matthews of Johnson Price Sprinkle led a lively, impartial discussion about  Accountable Care Organizations and Clinical Integration.

Lots of great questions were asked about how ACOs operate, the pros and cons of joining, the impact of ACOs on patients, the impact of ACOs on rural medicine, the role of physicians as leaders in ACOs, and more. Because of the high level of engagement by participants, we ran out of time; a follow-up meeting is being planned. If you are interested in participating in future independent physician affinity group meetings, let us know by contacting Megan Hare at Megan@mywcms.org.
Updates from BCDH: Pertussis & Ebola 
Buncombe County Disease Control staff has been working on an investigation of pertussis at a local childcare center.  Read more.

Henderson, Transylvania and Buncombe counties are dealing with outbreaks of pertussis.  Click here for reminders on dealing with pertussis, symptoms and more.

BCDH has provided updated guidance for providers in dealing with Ebola.  Click here to read.
This Holiday Season Give the Gift of Access to Health Care
"I support WCMS because of Project Access®. Project Access® provides healthcare to individuals in our community who do not otherwise qualify for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Through Project Access®, WCMS helps save lives."
-Melissa Pennscott
Director of Marketing at Johnson Price Sprinkle
Member of the WCMS Foundation Development Council

See the impact your donation made last year
WCMS Endowment Fund Contributes $7260 To Medication Assistance Program in Clay County
The Clay Comprehensive Health Services Chatuge Family Practice received $20,000 from the People in Need grant program of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The WCMS Foundation Endowment Fund is proud to have contributed $7260 toward this grant. www.mywcms.org/philanthropy/endowment/

The funding will be used to continue the Medical Access Offset Program in Clay County.  It will help decrease indigent and uninsured patient co-pays, ensure that people have access to quality health care, and offset the costs associated with lab work and other tests not covered by state and federal health programs.
Maternity Care Landscape Evolves: Additional OB Practices Increases Choices, Competition 
"A shake-up in the medical world of maternity care and childbirth means more choices for pregnant women in Jackson, Swain and Macon counties, but also heightened competition for the profitable labor and delivery line."

Read article.
(New Section contributed by Mark Jaben, MD (WCMS Board Member) 
Abraham Verghese: A Doctor's Touch 
In the next year, WCMS will be intentional about spotlighting stories from various physicians (local and national) that show ways they maintain their joy in the practice of medicine.  Enjoy Dr. Verghese's segment below from TED talks about a doctor's touch.

"I'd like to make the case to you in the next 17 minutes that when we shortcut the physical exam, when we lean towards ordering tests instead of talking to and examining the patient, we not only overlook simple diagnoses that can be diagnosed at a treatable, early stage, but we're losing much more than that. We're losing a ritual. We're losing a ritual that I believe is transformative, transcendent, and is at the heart of the patient-physician relationship. This may actually be heresy to say this at TED, but I'd like to introduce you to the most important innovation, I think, in medicine to come in the next 10 years, and that is the power of the human hand -- to touch, to comfort, to diagnose and to bring about treatment."

Click here to watch video.
Toward Accountable Care 
Over 40 North Carolina medical societies and organizations joined together in a commitment to helping the medical community face the challenges of a changing health care environment, launching the Toward Accountable Care Consortium and Initiative. The Consortium was designed to provide the medical community with the knowledge and tools needed to understand, participate in, navigate, lead, and succeed in a value-driven health care system. Click here for a list of current Toward Accountable Care Consortium members.

Click here for toolkits designed to assist the following specialties: Anesthesia, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Hospice/Palliative Care, Neurology, Obstetrics, Oncology, Psychiatry, Radiology, and Urology.  (GYN will be a separate guide and is in the process of being finalized. Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics also are in the process of being finalized.)
Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board:
Bilingual Nurse or Certified MA  (French Broad Pediatrics)
Orthopedic-Joint Replacement Surgeon  (Pardee Hospital)
Medical Interpreter  (WCMS)

To find out how you can post a Job or Classified Ad Click here.

WCMS is a thriving 750 member professional association of the physicians of western North Carolina and a chartered component medical society of the NC Medical Society and the AMA. The WCMS is an organization run by physicians for physicians.

Our Mission
The WCMS is the physicians' voice advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of the community.  

Our Vision
To be a dynamic physician community dedicated to a healthy, vibrant Western North Carolina.

About WCMS
The purpose of WCMS is: 

  • To strengthen the voice of WNC physicians in advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of our region
  • To inform, educate and prepare physicians for rapidly occurring changes in health care at national, state, and local levels
  • To share legislative and policy information and advocate on behalf of physicians in areas of mutual interest
  • To share available resources in areas of mutual interest
  • To promote physician-to-physician communication and dialogue in an open, honest and safe environment

We hope you enjoy our weekly e-newsletter. If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me.  


Photo: Miriam Schwarz, WCMS CEO
Miriam Schwarz


Miriam Schwarz signature


Miriam Schwarz, MPA

WCMS CEO/Executive Director